The week before I was scheduled to have dental surgery, I was filled with anxiety. After all, I have a lifetime of horror stories about my experiences with dentists. One of my earliest memories is of my angry mother dragging 6-year-old me down the street after I bit the elderly dentist in our hometown and he demanded she remove me from his office and never bring me back.
As it turned out, my visit to the oral surgeon was surprisingly pleasant. After Dr. Johnson and I had our pre-surgery consultation, I asked him why he had chosen this profession. “I like to hurt people,” he said. I wondered how he knew that was exactly the right answer to my question.
When I got home and opened the bag they’d sent with me, it contained post-surgery directions, a tube of lip balm, tea bags (to stop the bleeding) and a package of ramen noodles. I was even more impressed with the kindness of the staff who all seemed to recognize that nobody really wanted to be there.
A few days later, I was talking to my friend Karyn Ruth White about my experience and she told me about her favorite dentist. Here’s her story:
If I had any doubts about whether or not I would like my new dentist, they all vaporized the minute I walked into the lobby and spotted the ten foot toy toothbrush in the corner. I was thrilled to see, a lobby filled with color, walls lined with cartoons, and Dilbert books on the waiting room tables. The front office team was polite, efficient and yes, even friendly. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble here, but they were actually laughing together. Where was I? I was pretty sure that this was not your average dental practice.
My suspicions were confirmed when, after a short wait, I was escorted to the back exam room. Again the walls were lined with cartoons and lots of pictures of a man in a safari hat with tribes of African children all smiling and holding dental floss. Then I met him, the man in the picture: the magical, mystical, mercurial man they called Dr. Graham Coveyduck. He was about 5’7”, slim build, sharp mind, big smile, youthful twinkle in his eyes and an unending inventory of filthy jokes. I decided then and there that I had found my new dentist.
For ten years, right up until he retired, I was his happy patient. I knew that whatever I needed done, he would make it as pain-free and fun as possible. One of my favorite memories was the stuffed toy mouse he placed in between the ceiling tiles, so that it would be the first thing you saw when you reclined in the dental chair. I also loved that he hung a bird feeder outside the exam room window so you could hear and watch the birds while you were in the chair. He had a great cartoon in the lobby of an old guy with no teeth ,the caption read “Your teeth…Ignore them and they will go away.”
On one visit he got me laughing so hard that when it was time to rinse and spit I missed the bowl and spit on his floor. The entire staff laughed for five solid minutes over that one. Dr. Coveyduck looked at me in mock seriousness and said “Nice!”, which sent me into another round of laughter.
As a motivational comedian and entrepreneur, I am always on the lookout for businessowners who embrace the power of humor and laughter as essential components to true success. My mantra is “If it ain’t fun, it ain’t success!”